Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion, which is why I can fully understand that there are people out there who
think Nick is human don’t love Captain America: Civil War as much as I did. But even in these less then enthusiastic reactions for the movie as a whole, you would be hard pressed to find anybody who didn’t consider the Marvel Cinematic Universe debuts of Black Panther and Spider-Man to be simply amazing. The latter is especially impressive for two reasons: we had just gone through a failed on-screen reboot of the character a few years ago, and – most importantly – he was never even supposed to be there!
When Marvel finally signed a deal early last year with character film rights-holders Sony to allow Spider-Man to show up in an MCU movie, it was a massive coup. Marvel was essentially getting back the reins to their most famous character. For Sony, it meant admitting the mistakes they made with Amazing Spider-Man films and saying “Here you go, Marvel. We think you can do a better job”.
And while all of that was incredible to witness from a fan perspective, it also meant that Marvel suddenly needed to rethink their plans – plans that had famously already been laid out to 2027. One big component of that plan was Captain America: Civil War which would be set to give the MCU a big shakeup. And which would be the perfect place to introduce Tom Holland as the new young Spidey. The problem? The movie was already halfway through production.
And chatting to /Film, Captain America: Civil War screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely revealed just how they had to adapt to this big new change.
When in the writing process did you learn Spider-Man would have a part in the film?
McFeely: He was always possible, not necessarily always realistic. From the very beginning, we knew it would be great if we could get him. [Marvel’s] Kevin Feige gave us reason to believe that there were some ongoing negotiations and maybe it’s possible. So we did versions where he was in it and then he came back in and went, “Not going that well,” as any normal negotiations would. And then we moved pieces around and strengthened Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) as a character. We knew we were definitely going to use him, because we definitely wanted that splash panel [airport sequence] to have as many earned participants as we could get.
Eventually, when the deal was done, it was bittersweet because we had a really tight thing going. Kevin said, “We got him.” And we said, “Great. That’s a lot more work for us. OK. Let’s figure it out.” [Laughs.]
One of the interesting things about Marvel and Sony’s deal is that Sony still hold the film rights to Spider-Man, and so are essentially co-producers for the character. At least that is what will happen on the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming solo film in 2017. But what about in Civil War? How does Sony and Marvel share creative responsibility for the character? Simple: They don’t.
Did you only have to work with Marvel on the character?
Markus: We only had to deal with Marvel. Marvel dealt with Sony.
McFeely: Well, I think they sent the scenes…
Markus: Yeah, they sent the scenes and then they came to set when we were shooting those scenes. It felt very free, I have to say. They knew, 12 movies in, we weren’t going to screw them up. Marvel wasn’t going to trash them. They were made comfortable and then they were enthusiastic.
Civil War is currently looking like it could be Marvel’s second biggest movie ever internationally, and fans have instantly embraced Holland’s portrayal as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, so yeah, I’m pretty sure they’re enthusiastic.
But besides for that in the comic book world Spider-Man is practically their mascot, exactly why did Marvel feel that they needed him – and Black Panther – to specifically show up in Civil War? Markus and McFeely explained to THR:
“They came around very organically. We needed a character [like Black Panther] who sat outside of the Avengers who was wronged by their actions and could take party in the festivities, if you will, and not have the same agenda to either side of the Avengers.”
“By the same token we needed another fresh face — an ingenue — who would work with the Avengers and his arc would be something like, ‘Look I am playing on the big team!’ We needed those different perspectives on the same conflict, people who didn’t have the same angst about everything because they hadn’t shared five movies with these people.”
And it looks like that great treatment of the character will continue into Spider-Man: Homecoming, as Kevin Feige spoke more about the direction they want to take Spidey in.
“We wanted to show a much younger Spidey, in contrast to our other heroes, a Spidey who — as he was in the early ’60s, when he was first created in the Marvel bullpen — was totally different from the Marvel heroes. The other heroes don’t have to worry about homework. They don’t have to worry about being home at a certain time. That’s what makes Spider-Man Spider-Man. We also wanted to let audiences know he’s already Spider-Man; he’s been Spider-Man for a little while when we meet him. There wasn’t the expectation we’d tell an origin, I think, everybody in the world already knows.”
And Markus and McFeely echoed that sentiment for not needing to show off origin stories here.
“We would not have included Spider-Man if we had to show him getting bitten by a radio-active spider. The whole movie is long enough as it is without adding that. The mantra for us was to bring in character’s when the story needed them.”
“Part of the fun of comics in coming upon a new character or new superhero that is fully formed and then finding out where the came from. Spider-Man has had five movies prior to now so it isn’t necessary to give them an origin but it’s fun to just come in on their kid. The same thing with Panther; this is not his origin in this movie, but he has been introduced so now you can go into the mechanics of a real plot as opposed to having a half-hour where he become that guy and then having less time for plot.”
Captain America: Civil War is out now (well, unless you’re in the US, then you have to wait to Friday), while Spider-Man: Homecoming is scheduled for release on July 7, 2017.
Last Updated: May 5, 2016